Coronavirus: Latest on COVID-19 from around the world - Friday, October 15

Here's the latest on the pandemic from around the world overnight. 

Europe

Ireland

Ireland raised doubts over its plans to drop almost all COVID-19 restrictions next week due to a rise in cases, with Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe saying a full return of office workers was now unlikely.

Ireland has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world with 92 percent of adults fully protected, but also one of the highest infection rates in Europe with around 400 cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days. 

UK

COVID-19 infections in children in England rose in September after schools returned from summer holidays, helping to keep cases high even as there was a fall among adults, a large prevalence study showed.

Britain's defences against COVID-19 are working and the pandemic situation is currently stable, Health Minister Sajid Javid said on Thursday. Britain reported 45,066 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the highest number since mid-July, and 157 more deaths within 28 days of a positive test.

Italy

Italy reported 40 deaths and 2668 infections.

Russia

Russia called on pension-age doctors who quit during the pandemic for safety reasons to return to their jobs on Thursday as the authorities reported a record one-day tally of COVID-19 cases as well as a record number of deaths.

Thursday's case tally of 31,299 new cases marked the first time Russia has officially reported more than 30,000 cases in a single day since the pandemic began. The government taskforce reported 986 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, a record death toll for the third day in a row.

Latvia

Latvian President Egils Levits tested positive on Thursday, prompting Finland's President Sauli Niinisto, who had had breakfast with him a day earlier, to self-isolate.

The Latvian government has cancelled most planned hospital operations from Monday amid an increased need for beds and staff as COVID-19 cases climb, the Health Ministry said in a statement on Thursday. A record surge of 2108 new cases were recorded, and 21 deaths.

Asia-Pacific

Singapore

Singapore reported 2932 new cases, slightly down on the day before, and 15 deaths. 

Palau

The tiny Pacific nation of Palau has the world's highest percentage of people vaccinated against COVID-19, the Red Cross said on Thursday, urging the country's laggard neighbours to follow its example and step up inoculation efforts.

Fully 99 percent of Palau's population over 12 has had both shots of vaccine for the new coronavirus, the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) said, citing government figures which also show that this amounts to 16,152 people.

Australia

Melbourne will exit months of lockdown next week helped by a faster-than-expected vaccine uptake, Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said on Thursday, ahead of schedule even though daily infections hit a record the same day.

India

Residents of a city in northeast India are spending nights in snaking queues outside vaccination centres awaiting their turn for a COVID-19 shot, an anomaly in a country with a surplus of vaccines. Local police sometimes have to be brought in to control unruly crowds of people gathered outside vaccination centres.

Americas

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused such extreme unemployment and poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean that a "statistical rebound" in growth this year will not be enough to overcome it, regional United Nations organisations said in a Thursday report.

United States

Pastors and advocacy groups are mobilising against COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Mexico

Mexico's president on Wednesday hailed a US decision to open their shared border in November after more than 18 months of pandemic restrictions, though millions of Mexicans inoculated with Chinese and Russian vaccines face being shut out.

Middle East and Africa

Nigeria

Nigeria will require civil servants to show proof of vaccination or a negative test for the disease to gain access to their offices from the beginning of December, a presidential committee said on Wednesday

Vaccines and treatment

World Trade Organization chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Thursday said formal negotiations about a temporary waiver of intellectual property rules to boost access to COVID-19 vaccines were "stuck". but informal talks were intensifying.

Israel health officials on Thursday said booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine improved severe disease protection in people aged 40 and older, in presentations made to US scientists discussing a booster dose of Moderna's vaccine.

Europe's drug regulator said on Thursday it had started a real-time review of AstraZeneca's antibody-based COVID-19 therapy, the first protective shot other than vaccines against coronavirus.

Poland is donating a million AstraZeneca COVID-19 shots to Iran, the Polish embassy in Tehran said on Thursday. The US government will ship 2.4 million doses of vaccine to Pakistan on Thursday, a White House official said.

Reuters / Newshub.